November 6, 2003

Linux Gets Entangled In Legalities

IBM struck back in its intellectual property battle with SCO: In September, IBM countersued SCO, accusing it of infringing on IBM copyrights. This was
in response to a $3 billion suit SCO filed last summer, alleging that Big Blue had illegally copied proprietary Unix code into Linux. The two
companies have been fighting tooth and nail, exasperating Linux customers and partners in the process.

Big vendors are stepping in to offer help, though usually in contradictory ways. For example, in September, HP offered to take on the legal liability
for any of its Linux customers that are affected by an SCO lawsuit. (SCO has sent about 1,500 threatening letters to Linux customers it has identified
as infringing on SCO copyright.) Soon after the HP announcement, IBM said it would not indemnify its Linux customers, saying the move offered little
more than token legal support and runs counter to the open Linux ethos.

Regardless of how it all plays out, there's little mystery about where popular opinion stands. At this summer's LinuxWorld trade show, any criticism
of SCO's legal maneuverings was met with sustained applause, a sentiment the company should heed as it presses its case.



  • Linux
Click Here!